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Ana Vegas

Five Tips to Manage Stress at School

Handling School Stress.

Once a new school year begins or when final exams approach, it is usual to feel stressed out due to the huge amount of tasks and issues we have to take care of. Experts have demonstrated that moderate stress is normal and even beneficial for our balance. The problem comes when stress gets out of control and becomes an obstacle to do our regular activities, in some cases leading us to feel physical symptoms. Controlled stress pushes us to work hard and get results, while excessive stress can have an impact on our performance and our health. It is important to know and practice simple little steps to avoid and reduce its effects.

1. Plan ahead:

Stress is our body’s reaction to unknown situations. When we have to face a new situation, our body activates our defenses in order to overcome it. For this reason, planning ahead is the best way to avoid it. There will always be unexpected situations; the key is to reduce them and try to have control over anything that could happen. Keep an organizer or diary to organize all your classes, assignments and upcoming tests. Even your social activities could be included in this organizer, since this gives you the chance to plan better and avoid any interference they may have with your academic duties.

Read: Don’t let your Wallet Eat Your Diet

 

2. Avoid procrastination:

While this point is closely related to the previous one, its importance calls for discussion. Procrastination is the act of avoiding tasks and is closely related to failure, leading us to have an unsuccessful career. When you procrastinate, you’re not only increasing your odds of failure in reaching your goals, you’re also contributing to increased levels of stress. All of us have to work with deadlines and according to schedules, so it is important not to leave tasks to the last moment. This only leaves you feeling stressed-out and affects the time you have for the rest of the activities included in your agenda.  

3. Find a hobby:

This is a good way to have a break while still doing something productive. A hobby will make you feel relaxed, and boost that feeling of passion and purpose in life. When you do something you really enjoy, you feel happy and motivated. This will also make you manage your time more efficiently in order to combine your hobbies with your academic life.

4. Workout:

Many studies have proven that committing to any type of exercise on a daily basis has numerous benefits for our body and mental health. It helps to improve our mood, feel relaxed and energized and regulates our sleeping habits. It is not necessary to pay for a gym membership or join a sports club — even though this is a good idea — it is enough to walk 30 minutes each day to balance your mood, clear your thoughts and feel more relaxed. If you’re studying hard for a test or facing an imminent deadline, take some breaks to walk around campus and get some fresh air while boosting your energy.

5. Listen to music:

Music is one of the best stress relievers; it has the power to make you feel calm or energized. Play around with creating different playlists for different moments in the day. Choose positive and upbeat music to boost your energy in the mornings and slow or instrumental music for evenings when it’s time to relax before sleeping. It is proven that classical songs are good for our concentration so you can even listen to music while studying!

You’ll also find interesting: My Friend is Depressed—What Can I Do?

Marijuana Arrests in Colorado

In 2012, Colorado became the first state approving the recreational use of marijuana. Amendment 64 was the result of some group efforts that promoted the positive impact it would have on society.  It’s been almost four years since the 55.32 percent of voters approved the retail sale and possession of marijuana in Colorado, and many experts coincide with the positive effect this regulation has had on society—as was expected. But even when the positive results are remarkable, an issue that continues to create concern is the racial disparity in the rate of marijuana-related arrests.

Racial Disparity in Marijuana Arrests

According to a Drug Policy Alliance’s study, since the first retail marijuana store opened on Jan. 1, 2014, the state of Colorado has benefitted from a decrease in crime rates, traffic fatalities, an increase in tax revenue, economic output from retail marijuana sales and an increase in jobs. But the most remarkable positive effect has been the reduction of the arrests for possession of marijuana, which have decreased by 46 percent.

Even so, this percentage of decreased arrests vary for white, black and Latino people. Another study released in March 2016 for the Department of Public Safety, reflect a decrease [in arrests] of 51 percent of white people, 33 percent of Hispanics and 25 percent of African-Americans. This marked difference evidences a notable disparity apparently based on racial criteria, since some studies made for departments of public health have proven that there isn’t a racial difference in who actually smokes marijuana—all of these groups do it in the same proportion.

What is more concerning about this is the fact that this disparity affects a bigger proportion of young people; while the number of white juvenile arrests decreased by eight percent, black and Latino arrests increased by 29 percent and 58 percent, respectively. 

Read: Alcohol versus Cannabis

Solution to the Problem

The drug policy expert, Keith Humphreys, explained in an interview with National Public Radio the possible causes of this disparity. One being that police do more patrols and get more calls in neighborhoods of color, while another reason, according to their studies, is that the legal marijuana industry is primarily white-owned. This fact provides an easy access [of marijuana] for white people and leaves the illegal market disproportionately composed of people of color.

Experts are studying the reason for this difference and looking for possible solutions to prevent and minimize the negative effects that these arrests can have in the life of young people. These negative effects can include a permanent criminal record that can easily be found by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies and banks.

Also interesting: How Marijuana Legalization Helps Businesses Prosper 

Easy Steps to Get in Shape in the New School Year

Advice on how to get fit and healthy for the new school year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The beginning of a new school year is always a good chance to work on your health and improve your appearance. When school is about to start, we always want to look the best we can but sometimes summer leaves behind some unwanted side-effects in our body from eating excessive food and lack of physical activity. I will share with you some effective tips to get in shape and feel healthier when you’re back to school and during the rest of the year.

Also read: Don’t Let Your Diet Eat Your Wallet

1. Start a detox program: Detoxing could be as simple as eliminating dairy from your diet or cutting out sugar in your drinks. Detox programs act as an excellent kickoff for a healthier lifestyle and for eliminating the toxins you may have built-up during the holidays. They help clean your organism, boost your energy, make your skin look better and also help you to lose weight in short term.

2. Start consuming diuretic drinks: Sometimes the reason of our extra weight is fluid retention, so the best way to avoid and offset its effects is drinking diuretic teas or infusions every day to stimulate the production of urine. Experts recommend them before breakfast as this help your body to start the day off better. The most recommended are green tea, lemons, watermelon, cucumber and pineapple juices. Believe it or not this could even help you lose some of those pesky pounds. These drinks are also a big source of vitamin A, C and E which benefit your overall health whilst promoting healthy looking skin.

3. Minimize simple carbs intake: Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in any diet and when you quit them, your body is forced to transform their fat reserves in to energy. Even so, you should know there are two types of carbs: Simple carbs are those composed of fiber, starch and sugar (e.g. baked goods, pie, cookies and white bread) while complex carbs are basically fiber and starch (e.g. broccoli, quinoa, apples, carrots and whole wheat bread). If your goal is to lose and control your weight, you must reduce simple carbs or substitute them for complex carbs. This will help your body burn fat, feel fuller for longer and will make your belly appear flatter.

4. Sleep: This is essential if you want to feel and look better. Numerous studies have proven the correlation between good sleep habits and weight control. People who sleep at least eight hours per day are more likely to see better result in their weight-loss programs. Additionally, you will look more radiant, relaxed and have more energy during the day. When college begins, your sleep habits might be affected due to the expected increase in academic activities, so try to adjust your schedule in order to enjoy the hours of sleep you need.

5. Start doing some physical activity: In case you don’t workout frequently, this is a great opportunity to become more active, so choose a sport club or activity to join in this new academic year. Take advantage of the last days of summer to start walking, running or swimming—even when it could be hard at the beginning, a few days into your routine will see your body demanding more rigorous workouts and you’ll start seeing results.

6. Drink water: Drinking a substantial amount of water daily has well-known benefits for healthy insides and for the appearance of your skin. This can be a tricky habit to kick-start and maintain if you don’t already do it, so start off by taking a bottle of water with you everywhere and sip constantly during the day. If you have problems reminding yourself to do it, set some alarms or mark your bottle with the hours at which you must drink. After doing this for few days, drinking water will become a good habit.

7. Stop drinking sodas: A common mistake made with people trying to lose weight is that while they reduce their consumption of carbs and sugars, they continue to drink sodas. For people who like to consume sodas, this could be hard to quit and a common misconceived resolution is to swap over to diet soda. This comes from the belief that diet sodas have less sugar and help us to control our weight. The truth is, they contain sweeteners like aspartame which can be even worse for our health, don’t have any nutritional value and is closely related to the risk of obesity, depression and diabetes.

8. Change your meals: Experts recommend eating five little meals during the day, this could be hard if you are busy doing any activity. So, instead of having five little meals, try to schedule two healthy snacks for both mid-morning and evening. The key is to choose the right food depending on the time. During the morning, it is good to choose fruits due to their high fiber content, while in the evening, the best options are nuts, pumpkin seeds or protein bars since they help balance your blood sugar level at a time when we usually feel tired and sleepy, giving an immediate energy boost.

9. Have breakfast early: It is proven that, having breakfast shortly after you wake up boosts your metabolism, makes you feel more energized and regulates your blood-sugar level. The best option is to include a big source of protein such as meal or eggs plus a complex carb like whole wheat bread or oats. This will give you the nutrients you need to start your day off with energy and at the same time will make you feel less hungry during the rest of the morning.

10. Get a general medical check: Before you start school, be sure to schedule a visit with your doctor and get a general evaluation. As they say, “health is beauty”, so the best way to look good is to have excellent health. Experts recommend to commit to at least one annual medical check. Take advantage of the last days of summer to do this and start the new year being sure that your health is in optimal condition.

You’ll also enjoy: Get Your Sleep Right
 

How to Set Academic Goals

A guide on how to set academic goals to reach career milestones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writer and expert in personal development, Earl Nightingale, said “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going”, and this is a proven certainty.  A fundamental element of professional and personal success depends on our ability to identify our goals and the development of a plan to reach them. Goal-setting is a skill you should acquire to be successful in your academic and professional life. Goal-setting helps you to focus on what you want, is related to a better performance and increases your self-confidence and feeling of happiness. In this short guide, I will tell you how to set effective academic goals to reach your career milestones.

You should also read these tips for career success after college

1. Learn the difference between goals, milestones and objectives: It may sound evident, but the truth is that too many people often confuse these terms:
• Goal: A goal is the desired end result after committing to – and achieving – objectives and milestones.
• Milestone: A milestone is a significant achievement on the road to that overall goal.
• Objective: A strategy in place to help achieve an overall goal.

2. Visualize: Goal-setting can be easy when you have an idea about what you want, but students often struggle to decide about which path they want to take in their professional life. So, the first step is to identify your career goal and visualize yourself in the future; what is the highest level you would like to achieve in your career? Once you know this, it is easy to set the milestones you need to reach to get there. If, say, your dream is to be the marketing director of an important company, you will need a specific background built up by academic skills and work experience that you acquire throughout that time and beyond. These should be your career milestones.

3. Research your chosen field: This is fundamental to setting your academic goals. Nowadays, recruiters are demanding more professionals with knowledge and skills related to their field; it is not enough to have a degree and a good GPA to get a job. Most require second languages, some experience in the field you want to study and specific things that show your interest in the matter—internships, volunteering, researches and publications for example. In order to reach your career milestones, you need to have previously reached these goals in college.
Your academic goals should be based on the research you did. Understand what you need to achieve in order to get the position you want after graduating or which requirements you need to achieve to begin a master’s degree.

4. Classify: Classify your goals according to their nature. Your academics goals could be, for instance, to earn a degree and get a specific GPA. Your skills goals, as I like to call them, are more related to those activities you do to gain experience; network and acquire or improve your professional skills through internships, volunteer work and extra-curricular activities.

5. Keep them few: In his article “The Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting”, Michael Hyatt proposes five basic principles. The first of them, of which I consider the most important, is: “Keep them few in number”. According to Hyatt, having a lot of goals only makes you lose your focus, so it is important to identify which specific goals you need to accomplish during your career and focus on them.

6. Be specific: All of the theories about goal-setting coincide in this point. Your overall goals have to be all the more clear and as specific as possible when you set objectives—learn a second language or improve your GPA, for example. Remember, when you know where are you going, you will know what you have to do.

7. Choose challenging goals: It is also proven that people make the biggest effort to accomplish a goal when it represents a big challenge. So, at the time of choosing your goals, always prefer those that push you to work hard as this will give you motivation and better results. Even so, don’t forget to be realistic. Your goals have to be reachable so if you choose something out of any possibility of achievement, the only result will be frustration.

8. Write: When you write your goals down it becomes easier to visualize and focus on them. It also helps you to trace your map to reach them. Most theories about this topic recommend activities like writing your goal on a card, focusing on it daily or putting it in a visible place that you’ll see constantly. It is also a good strategy to motivate yourself to add pictures, stories or anything that inspires you on this card to work hard in order to achieve what you want.

9. Ask for help: Many colleges have orientation departments to guide their students on their way to academic success. You can look for a program that helps you to identify what you want to do after graduating, create a strategy to reach your goals and track your progress or set objectives year by year according to your goals.
 

Find out your career personality, here!

Why getting an online degree is a great option

3 reasons why you should consider an online degree

Online education is a great option in this current time for those wanting to continue education. Some years ago, it was reduced to some courses and certificates but over time, we have seen how the variety of options has increased. Now we can find everything from workshops to doctoral programs, and the number of colleges and institutes offering this modality also became bigger. We can see prestigious universities offering their programs online with the same requirement level that on-campus students have. Despite this, some people doubt about its quality and convenience, this belief comes from the past when online programs were not well valued. This perspective has changed and now they are considered as good as on-campus programs. There are a lot of reasons why getting an online degree can be a great option, we will talk about three of them. 

You should also read: Writing Highly Influential Personal Statements: Not a Nightmare Anymore

 

Flexible schedule: One of the reasons why people often postpone getting back to school is because they do not have the availability of time to do it. When you spend all day at work and you have other responsibilities after work, it can be hard to become a full-time student. Online education and getting an online degree gives you the chance to set your own schedule according to the rest of your duties. Even when almost all this programs count with scheduled meetings with teachers to discuss some subjects, a high percentage of their content is provided through material that you can read at any moment. This is an advantage since you can study in your free time.

Access to international programs. There is a huge variety of online programs offered in all the world, many of them by top universities. This increase your chances to study something you really want and get an internationally recognized degree. We live in a globalized world where international education is well valued. Maybe you want to improve your resume with international education, but cannot move to another country or state to become a full-time student. This makes getting online education a great option for you.

Get useful skills. According to Forbes, besides technical knowledge there are three main skills that employers are looking for – Ability to work in a team, ability to make decisions and the ability to plan, organize and prioritize work – You can acquire those skills studying online since you have to be organized, methodical and proactive to successfully complete your program. The fact is, too many people start online programs that are not able to complete since it is required a high level of discipline, organization, and self-motivation to accomplish the program in the set time. Get an online degree proves that you have the required skills to work efficiently without supervision in order to reach a goal.  During a job interview, the recruiters do not use to ask if you took classes on campus or online. Despite this, online education can be well valued when applying for a job, if you highlight that it gave you the skills they are looking for.

 Distance learning has always existed, nowadays through the Internet, which makes fast and easier the access to the information. As an interesting fact, the University of London has been offering their international programs by distance since 1858 and include between their graduates, recognized figures like Nelson Mandela who got his law degree while in prison. So there are too many reasons to consider online education as a great option if you want to get a high-quality education at your own pace and from your home.

Related reading: How Smart Students Survive Online Classes

Have a healthy financial life while in college

Three basic rules to efficiently administrate your money

It is important to have a healthy financial life while in college. College is, the place where your adult life begins. A very exciting and interesting period in which you have a lot of new experiences, discover new things and get new responsibilities. One of the most important is the management of your finances, and this is important because it has an impact now and after college. The decisions you take now can affect your future goals and also the habits you are acquiring probably will be present during your adult life. This is why you should do your best about managing your money. There are 3 simple rules you should follow in order to improve your financial habits.

Create a budget. This is the starting point for anyone trying to have a good handle on their money. No matter how much money you have in the bank, creating a monthly budget will help you to control your income and expenses. It will guide you about how much you have and how much you can spend. To create a good budget, you have to include regular payments as rent, transport, food and fun, as well as the small variable expenses like coffee, video rental, magazines, beers, snacks and apps. These apparently insignificant amounts of money you constantly spend,  add up fast and can affect your finances. It is important to keep track and destine a specific amount to cover them. If this is your first budget you can set an approximate amount based on your previous regular habits and adjust it according to the reality.

Use your credit cards wisely. As Jesse Campbell, content specialist at Money Management International says, “Good credit is a little like insurance, you don’t really think much about it until you need it.”  This is why you should use it very consciously and learn about how it works and what can you do to keep it healthy.  There are some basic rules about this, first of all is trying to use your credit cards just in case of emergency and borrow only what you can afford to pay back. It is also important to have a plan about how will you pay your debt, and include the monthly payment in your budget without affect the rest of your accounts.

Smart spending. Before you spend, think that each dollar you save will be extra money designated to what you really want. There are too many things you can do to save money — get offers from coupons, student discounts, rent your books, use the internet instead of cable packages— It is not about being cheap but to reduce some expenses that result unnecessary if we stop to analyze them consciously.

Following these simple but effective rules, will help you to have control of your money. This will give you the confidence to take good decisions and, at the same time  you will be creating good habits that will make easier the manage on money during your adult life.